Michelle Gonzalez has been a nurse for nine years. She now works in the Intensive Care Unit at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
“Before there is nothing to protect ourselves, we want it here and we want to know we have the correct equipment that we need to provide the care for these patients,” Gonzalez said.
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Nurses and other health care providers across New York City are already facing a stark and scary reality: a dwindling amount of supplies, needed protection for them to care for the growing number of patients who have COVID-19.
“Currently what they are saying is they are rationing equipment, and my argument has been, before all this happened, Courtney, basic infection control was that the moment that mask had been utilized once, you removed it at the end of the experience with the patient and you threw it out.
“You washed your hands, you came out the room, and then when you have your next patient encounter, you would put a new mask on. With everything that is developing right now, it's like we are developing new standards in infection control and they don’t seem like they are guided by science. They seem like were are doing it because there is a shortage of equipment,” Gonzalez said. “We are told to reuse the mask up to five times.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly said the city will run out of personal protection equipment, like specialized masks, shortly.
“And, by the way, I’ve warned people, in two or three weeks at this rate we’re gonna run out,” the mayor said. “But that’s the beginning of the crisis. Later in April, into May, it gets worst.”
This week the city demanded more supplies from the federal government.
In a letter to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, de Blasio said the city was in “great need” of supplies. He requested millions of masks, gowns, and gloves.
This was not the first request this month the city sent to the federal government for much needed supplies.
A spokesperson for the city’s health department told NY1 earlier this month it requested 2.2 million of the N95 masks. It received 78,000 — and they all were labeled expired.
The city asked for 800,000 face shields. It received 36,000.
And it asked for 600,000 gloves and received just a small portion: 104,000.
Already, at NYU Langone Health, a spokesperson told NY1 the staff was being re-educated on the re-use of of equipment like masks and gowns.
We’re told Montefiore is short on supplies and is working with the federal and state government to fix the situation.
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